Commentary

How to beat Kentucky

Five keys include making Brandon Knight go left and attacking Josh Harrellson on D

Updated: April 1, 2011, 11:29 AM ET
By Doug Gottlieb | ESPN Insider
Brandon KnightAP Photo/Julio CortezWant to slow down Brandon Knight? Get the ball out of his right hand.

Before I get into my blueprint for how to beat the Kentucky Wildcats, it's worth pointing out just how different John Calipari's team is this season from the John Wall-led unit of one season ago.

This team has grown a lot throughout the year. While much has been made of the Connecticut Huskies' nine-game winning streak, Kentucky has actually won 10 in a row. Brandon Knight has become the Wildcats' go-to guy, Josh Harrellson has given them a legit post presence and Terrence Jones is a tough matchup at the power forward position.

On defense, Kentucky is very sound. The team's length and athleticism, as well as strong bodies, is the best in the Final Four. The Wildcats are holding teams to just 39 percent field goal shooting. While they are not deep, they seem to be in great condition as their defensive intensity does not let up. They play mostly man-to-man, with DeAndre Liggins serving as their shutdown defender, meaning he'll guard UConn star Kemba Walker on Saturday night. Darius Miller will likely check Huskies freshman Jeremy Lamb, and both scorers could be in for a tough night going against two solid UK defenders.

In the X factor department, both Jones and Doron Lamb can be streaky players. Jones is averaging only 11 points per game during Kentucky's 10-game win streak, and Lamb has been relatively quiet in the SEC and NCAA tournaments. However, both players are capable of getting hot (Lamb shoots 48 percent from deep), and if they do, you are in trouble.

Now that you know all about Kentucky's strengths, here is a five-point plan for beating the Wildcats: